Mayor Bloomberg Sugary Drink Ban - Why It Backfired
Posted Mar 14 2013 5:37pm
As a New York City native and Certified Health and Wellness Coach, I've watched this whole issue of Mayor Bloomberg banning soda and other sugary drinks with great interest. I heard the first anti-New York City Sugary Drink Ban campaign ads on the radio when I visited New York last Summer and thought that it would be an interesting battle.
The whole sugary drink ban is a tough call because no one likes to be told what to do when it comes to making healthy choices. And New Yorkers, in particular, do not like being told what to do.
Newsflash--healthy habits happen when people are ready to make a change and choose to go with what's good for them, not when they're forced into it. And if you restrict what people can have, it also will tend to make them want to do the opposite and rebel against it.
On the other hand, regular soda and sugary beverages are definitely contributors to obesity and diabetes in adults and children. Children can't decide for themselves, but their parents sure can.
But the "ban" didn't limit getting 2-liter bottles from the supermarket or convenience store, and someone could just buy two drinks to make up for the smaller quantity. I think you would have seen a lot of businesses offering BOGOs for 16-ounce drinks and there goes the ban anyway.
And is drinking a 16-ounce regular soda, sweet iced tea or coffee confection all that much better? Sure it's a smaller portion, but it's still not changing the unhealthy practice of drinking calories with little or no nutritional value unnecessarily.
Plus, here's another thought, the Mayor Bloomberg sugary drink ban didn't limit loads of other foods that are unhealthy. Where's the restriction on king-size candy bars, super value size french fries, gooey cinnamon buns, triple bacon cheeseburgers and kitchen sink sundaes?
My take on it is that I'm going to assume that Mayor Bloomberg's heart was in the right place in taking action to try and fight obesity in NYC and beyond, but the ban itself was not the way to go about it. It's not up to the government to take freedom of choice that far. If someone wants to have a 32-ounce soda they have the right to have it, and if they have too many, they also have the right to diabetes and obesity.
Instead, let's help the people who guzzle hundreds and thousands of calories a day of soda get to the "why" behind this consumption, and help them decide for themselves to make a change to healthier choices when they're ready. How about that Mayor Bloomberg?